Weather Report December 2016

According to the Gospel of Matthew, Son of Man was Jesus’ chosen self-designation. No one else in the gospel ever uses this title when speaking of or to Jesus, according to John Meier.1 The first appearance of the title is rather humble. In the eighth chapter of Matthew Jesus tells a pedigreed, would-be follower that he cannot cut it seeing that the Son of Man does not so much as have a tent to sleep in.
Should the reader be surprised to learn that once his ministry of preaching and teaching commenced, the peripatetic Jesus lived a deprived existence? Affordable housing was an issue at the start according to the birth narrative in Matthew. A traveling young mother and father-to-be found no room in the Bethlehem inn and thus lodged in a stable. Jesus got this honestly. From the day God led the Hebrews from Egypt, God refused to live in a house. 
Needless to say, scripture takes housing seriously. A constant in the early existence of Israel was the wanderer. Unlike the resident alien and sojourner, the wanderer had no street address or zip code. Exposed to the elements and wild animals, survival was a daily concern. As Israel grew in wealth, enclosure displaced peasants from the family farm. A version of imminent domain is at the heart of the infamous story of Ahab and Jezebel. Countless others were displaced by natural disaster and invading armies. Outdoors with no shelter, faith is never easy.
All God’s children deserve a safe place to sleep at night. Housing is a basic necessity. To assess the housing needs of the world’s population is daunting. The sheer magnitude of need leaves the concerned feeling hopeless. I am writing to offer you an opportunity to feel hopeful this Christmas.
Early in January 2017, a team of six from Immanuel will return to Haiti. This will be the fifth trip since 2013. Once again we will minister alongside The Joseph School. In September, the school expanded, adding a new grade. Presently, The Joseph School has sixty students in grades K-1st, some of them wearing uniforms purchased by Immanuel.
Construction of the new school will displace some local people living on the land in humble dwellings. Our goal on this trip will be to construct a cinderblock house for one of the families. The cost of the project is $5,000. Perhaps making the trip to Haiti is not doable for you, but you desire to be involved in the ministry. Here is a golden opportunity. Half of the funds for the construction have been identified in mission gifts on hand. Our aim is to raise the balance by Christmas. You may contribute through the offering or church office with a check marked “House in Haiti” on the memo line.
The Son of Man had no place to lay his head. As I understand his teaching, this was by choice. Together we can make it possible for a family in Cabaret, Haiti to have a dry place to lay their heads. Chances are we will read “because there was no place in the inn” in a different light this Christmas Eve.     —Steven
 
1Meier, John P. The Vision of Matthew. P. 68.